Monday, June 28, 2010

Lara Logan, Wrong.

Lara Logan has done good work over the years, so it's unfortunate that her reaction to Michael Hastings' Rolling Stone story is so off the mark.

KURTZ: If you had been traveling with General McChrystal and heard these comments about Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Jim Jones, Richard Holbrooke, would you have reported them?

LOGAN: Well, it really depends on the circumstances. It's hard to know -- Michael Hastings, if you believe him, says that there were no ground rules laid out. And, I mean, that just doesn't really make a lot of sense to me, because if you look at the people around General McChrystal, if you look at his history, he was the Joint Special Operations commander. He has a history of not interacting with the media at all.

It's hard to square this portrayal of the reclusive General Pynchon McChrystal with the guy who, not even a year ago, spoke openly in the service of a 9,600-word profile in The New York Times Magazine.


And what I find is the most telling thing about what Michael Hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust and, you know, he's laid out there what his game is. That is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do, who don't -- I don't go around in my personal life pretending to be one thing and then being something else.

First off all, Hastings said no such thing about "pretending to build an illusion of trust." Contra Logan, here's what he told Kurtz:

[General McChrystal's team] gave unprecedented access to everybody. You know, they let -- you know, debriefings. They let you hang out with them. And they try to make you feel like you're part of the team.

But that's an illusion. You're really part of the team. You know?

And they know that and you know that. You're a journalist.

Logan had it backwards. The illusion of trust was propagated by McChrystal's staff. Hastings (wisely) chose not buy into it.

Logan's remarks reveal her to be either a sycophant or, worse, naive. The subject/journalist interaction is a two-way street. Prior to Rolling Stone, McChrystal and Co. had adroitly used the press to get out their message. In fact, their decision to cooperate with Rolling Stone was undoubtedly driven by a desire to sell the magazine's demographic on the merits of the war.

As for this -- "I don't go around in my personal life pretending to be one thing and then being something else" -- well, it's abject horseshit, unless Logan has evidence that Hastings wasn't candid with McChrystal about his day job.

If anyone's pretending, it's Logan. Logan is not really concerned about Hastings' ethics, so much as jealous that that, in her desire to ingratiate herself with McChrystal's team, she missed  -- or, worse, ignored -- an important story.

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